When it comes to URLs, there two variations that have different looks and functions – subdirectories and subdomains. These are variations of your website’s main URL and both can have different effects on your traffic.
A subdirectory is a page on your website. The URL for a subdirectory is usually your main URL followed by a slash and the page name. If your website URL is www.urlchange.com, a subdirectory may look something like www.urlchange.com/shop.
A subdomain is a separate but related URL to your main domain. For example, using the same base URL as above, you could have blog.urlchange.com as a subdomain that links to the main website.
Why does the URL even matter, you may be asking – and why should you care about the details? The truth is, search engines do care about these subtle differences and they can have an impact on your rankings. In short, subdirectories rank higher than subdomains when people search for your website URL.
Subdirectories are better for rankings
Search engines view subdirectories as a page of a bigger website (which is, essentially, what they are). Subdirectories inherit the qualities of the main domain and form part of the overall website, like the chapter of a book.
A subdomain is viewed as a separate entity – a unique website that is different from, but linked to, the main URL. Some websites change the URL of their blog pages to make them subdomains, but to drive traffic and improve the performance of your website as a whole, it is better to make the blog URL a subdirectory of the main URL.
Subdirectories make life easier
Beyond the SEO and traffic benefits, subdirectories have other advantages over subdomains. Subdirectories are easier to track with analytics tools as they don’t require cross-domain tracking. Although tracking across domains is not impossible, it can be complicated to set up the tracking code.
Subdirectories also make it easier for your users to find what they’re looking for. They make for cleaner URLs that are easier to read and understand. If your user wants to find page five of your blog while on your homepage, they can simply edit the URL and navigate directly to that page.
Subdomains have their benefits too, such as when you purposefully want to create a unique and separate site. For example, Tumblr and WordPress want their users’ sites to be unique but related, therefore subdomains are used for the URLs (e.g. yourname.tumblr.com).
If you want to give your site performance a boost, consider switching your subdomains to subdirectories of a singular root domain. You’ll see an improvement in traffic for the entire website, not just the blog page.
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